Leaderboards of Pleasure – 8/22/11


Say huh?

Like a good neighbor, the Leaderboards of Pleasure are there… to borrow money from you and drink all of your fermented beverages and make totally unsupportable claims.

Looking over this week’s boards, we find:

• First of all, that the author has taken the liberty of adjusting the calculation of the Underrated Player leaderboards ever so slightly — hopefully to allow the fake WAR (FANT) scale to more accurately reflect the scale of actual, real-live WAR.

• That, in so doing, Peter Bourjos leaps to the top of the list — something (i.e. leaping) he does in real life with some frequency, as well.

And:

• That, immediately upon passing the 100-plate appearance threshold, Desmond Jennings debuts at fourth overall on the Player NERD leaderboard. Drink deeply of his stat line and find yourself drunk with nerd pleasure: 122 PA, .320/.412/.592 (.389 BABIP), 13-17 SBA, 1.3 WAR.

1. Team NERD Leaderboard
2. Underrated Player Leaderboard
3. Player NERD Leaderboard
4. Pitcher NERD Leaderboard

Team NERD Leaderboard
Like the NERD scores you’ll find below, this one represents an attempt to anticipate the “watchability” of each team. The first iteration appears in a heartfelt love letter to America, which anyone is free to read here.

Please note that the “POFF” numbers (playoff-odds adjustments) are not included in the Team NERD scores you see below, but are instead the bonuses/penalties applied to the Game Scores for each respective team — a thing about which you can learn more by reading here.


Teams NERD Age BAT HR/FB Spd BULL UZR Pay Luck POFF
Royals 10 2.49 -0.06 -0.60 1.06 -0.41 0.16 1.40 0.88 -1
Red Sox 10 0.00 2.17 1.47 0.74 0.81 1.77 0.00 0.46 0
Yankees 10 0.00 2.28 1.52 1.54 0.81 0.84 0.00 0.00 -1
Diamondbacks 9 0.57 -0.38 0.75 0.90 -0.07 2.37 0.97 0.00 1
Marlins 8 1.30 -0.52 0.19 -0.39 0.44 -0.21 0.89 2.00 -1
Rangers 8 0.00 1.54 1.29 0.90 -0.11 0.61 0.02 0.00 0
Brewers 7 0.02 0.66 1.01 -0.07 1.38 0.19 0.18 0.20 0
Rays 7 0.39 0.35 0.10 1.06 -1.77 1.38 1.25 0.00 0
Padres 6 0.66 -0.54 -1.02 2.03 0.03 0.15 1.16 0.00 0
Blue Jays 6 0.39 0.53 0.28 0.58 0.47 -0.29 0.75 0.00 -1
Rockies 6 0.20 -0.30 0.33 0.41 1.35 0.16 0.12 0.00 0
Indians 6 0.94 -0.12 0.50 -0.23 -0.14 -0.68 1.08 0.00 2
Angels 5 0.00 -0.36 -0.23 0.41 -0.51 1.51 0.00 1.24 2
Reds 5 0.00 0.23 0.84 -0.71 -0.48 1.40 0.41 0.00 -1
Pirates 5 1.39 -1.22 -0.74 -0.23 -0.24 -0.06 1.15 0.00 -1
Braves 5 0.02 -0.28 1.36 -1.84 2.23 -1.03 0.15 0.68 0
Mets 5 0.66 0.80 -1.43 1.06 -0.07 -1.71 0.00 1.25 -1
Dodgers 4 0.00 -0.71 -0.87 0.25 0.06 0.02 0.00 2.00 -1
Nationals 4 0.02 -0.76 0.66 0.09 -0.41 -0.15 0.72 0.32 -1
Giants 3 0.00 -1.76 -1.27 -1.04 1.45 0.58 0.00 2.00 3
Cardinals 3 0.00 1.37 1.45 -1.68 -0.28 -0.90 0.00 0.00 0
Phillies 3 0.00 -0.01 0.10 0.74 -0.44 -0.58 0.00 0.00 -1
Cubs 3 0.00 -0.39 0.19 -0.39 -0.61 -0.64 0.00 1.53 -1
White Sox 3 0.00 -0.59 -0.47 -1.36 1.49 -0.20 0.00 0.66 2
Astros 3 0.30 -0.62 -1.76 0.25 0.13 -1.14 0.55 1.42 -1
Tigers 2 0.20 0.89 -0.13 -1.04 -1.43 -0.86 0.00 0.99 1
Orioles 2 0.30 -0.13 0.56 -2.00 -0.04 -1.86 0.19 0.89 -1
Athletics 1 0.00 -0.66 -1.60 -0.07 -0.24 -0.92 0.65 0.00 -1
Mariners 0 0.00 -1.77 -1.29 -0.39 -0.78 0.10 0.16 0.59 -1
Twins 0 1.03 -1.20 -1.17 -0.55 -2.61 0.05 0.00 0.00 -1

Underrated Player Leaderboard
To determine the most underrated player, we look at each player’s WAR relative to a very fake version of WAR (called FANT, in this case) constructed only by the five most common fantasy categories. (Read more here.)


Name Diff WAR FANT Avg HR R RBI SB
Peter Bourjos 2.4 4.3 1.9 0.47 -0.74 -0.30 -1.40 0.76
Howie Kendrick 2.3 4.6 2.3 0.63 -0.50 0.11 -0.85 0.15
Shane Victorino 2.2 5.9 3.7 1.37 -0.12 1.13 -0.68 0.66
Brendan Ryan 2.2 2.5 0.3 -0.27 -1.49 -1.18 -1.23 -0.16
Alex Avila 2.1 4.4 2.3 0.98 0.00 -0.84 0.15 -0.67
Ben Zobrist 2.1 6.4 4.3 0.53 0.13 1.60 0.86 0.56
Dustin Pedroia 2.0 6.9 4.9 1.11 0.25 1.40 0.48 1.48
Yunel Escobar 1.9 4.0 2.1 0.50 -0.50 0.65 -0.85 -0.67
Matt Holliday 1.8 5.3 3.5 1.21 0.50 0.72 0.42 -0.88
Alexei Ramirez 1.8 4.2 2.4 -0.33 -0.12 0.72 -0.18 -0.26
John Buck 1.7 2.0 0.3 -1.42 0.13 -1.59 -0.46 -0.98
Kurt Suzuki 1.7 1.7 0.0 -1.33 -0.25 -1.32 -1.23 -0.78
Alberto Callaspo 1.6 2.6 1.0 0.34 -1.12 -0.98 -0.90 -0.37
Matt Wieters 1.6 2.7 1.1 -0.33 -0.25 -0.57 -0.74 -0.88
Jose Bautista 1.5 7.7 6.2 1.50 2.74 2.21 1.30 -0.37
Ian Kinsler 1.5 5.5 4.0 -0.88 0.75 1.87 0.09 1.17
Jamey Carroll 1.5 1.6 0.1 0.60 -1.74 -1.18 -2.50 0.04
Evan Longoria 1.5 3.4 1.9 -1.29 0.75 -0.57 0.86 -0.88
Jhonny Peralta 1.5 4.5 3.0 1.34 0.50 -0.23 0.48 -0.98
Andrew McCutchen 1.4 5.6 4.2 0.09 0.50 0.79 0.97 1.07

Player NERD Leaderboard
Very similar to Pitcher NERD (below), except for position players. (Read more here.)


Name NERD Age WAR xBABIP HR/FB Spd K%
Ryan Braun 10 0.47 2.04 -0.12 1.71 1.51 0.52
Jacoby Ellsbury 10 0.47 1.99 -0.02 1.29 1.21 0.75
Jose Bautista 10 0.00 2.81 -0.32 2.73 -0.07 0.50
Desmond Jennings 10 1.19 1.73 -0.91 1.87 2.18 -0.50
Jose Reyes 10 0.24 1.88 0.00 -0.97 2.38 2.00
Shane Victorino 10 0.00 2.48 -0.45 0.13 1.97 1.40
Curtis Granderson 10 0.00 1.85 -0.04 2.41 2.13 -0.94
Justin Upton 10 1.43 1.92 -0.42 1.18 1.21 0.04
Albert Pujols 10 0.00 1.15 0.40 2.00 0.03 1.58
Robinson Cano 9 0.24 1.14 0.04 1.47 1.10 0.87
Troy Tulowitzki 9 0.71 1.90 -0.22 1.15 0.03 1.18
Matt Kemp 9 0.71 1.89 -0.29 2.07 1.05 -0.68
Dustin Pedroia 9 0.47 2.06 -0.10 0.42 0.59 1.28
Andrew McCutchen 9 1.19 1.66 0.16 0.58 0.90 0.20
Ian Kinsler 9 0.00 1.50 0.43 0.21 1.21 1.35
Carlos Gonzalez 9 0.95 0.79 -0.19 1.82 1.21 -0.02
Mike Stanton 9 1.91 1.15 -0.27 2.97 0.29 -1.58
Chase Utley 9 0.00 1.81 -0.26 -0.18 1.61 1.45
Tony Campana 9 0.95 1.09 0.76 -0.17 1.67 -0.01
Dustin Ackley 9 1.43 1.68 -0.16 -0.01 0.90 0.28

Pitcher NERD Leaderboard
The idea with Pitcher NERD — as with the other NERDs — is to express with one number the likelihood that the learned fan might have interest in a certain player. (To read more about Pitcher NERD, click here.)


Name NERD xFIP SwStrk Strk Velo Luck Age KN
Zack Greinke 10 2.86 1.94 0.31 0.75 1.61 0.20 0.00
Clayton Kershaw 10 2.03 1.78 0.53 1.06 0.00 1.20 0.00
Roy Halladay 10 2.46 1.61 2.30 0.52 0.01 0.00 0.00
Madison Bumgarner 10 1.47 0.51 1.44 0.52 0.53 1.70 0.00
Cliff Lee 10 2.21 1.01 2.32 0.41 0.12 0.00 0.00
Michael Pineda 10 0.80 2.05 1.29 1.70 0.18 1.45 0.00
Brandon Morrow 10 1.17 2.22 0.54 1.32 1.08 0.45 0.00
Justin Verlander 10 1.75 1.34 1.23 1.74 0.00 0.00 0.00
CC Sabathia 10 1.70 1.67 1.61 1.17 0.00 0.00 0.00
Matt Garza 10 1.52 1.72 0.58 1.21 0.50 0.20 0.00
Cole Hamels 10 1.81 1.83 1.20 0.52 0.00 0.20 0.00
Cory Luebke 10 1.78 1.67 1.34 0.33 0.00 0.45 0.00
Anibal Sanchez 9 1.47 1.56 0.66 0.52 0.86 0.20 0.00
David Price 9 1.27 0.29 0.36 1.62 0.32 0.70 0.00
Juan Nicasio 9 1.10 0.35 -0.10 1.36 0.77 0.95 0.00
Jonathon Niese 9 1.32 0.18 1.31 0.03 0.81 0.95 0.00
Felix Hernandez 9 1.42 0.46 0.23 1.09 0.20 0.70 0.00
Brandon Beachy 9 1.22 2.05 0.36 0.49 0.02 0.95 0.00
Rubby De La Rosa 9 0.89 0.29 -1.36 2.08 0.21 1.45 0.00
R.A. Dickey 9 0.22 -0.09 1.54 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.78




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


20 Responses to “Leaderboards of Pleasure – 8/22/11”

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  1. Jason says:

    The great irony to me is your underrated board is full of the most overrated players in the game. Single most overrated player in baseball has to be Dustin Pedroia. He’s unquestionably a good player, but he’s probably the third best second basemen in the AL (after Cano and Kinsler) and the fourth most important player on his own team (after Gonzalez, Youkilis and Ellsbury). Yet, Sports Illustrated just placed him on the cover and told us he is one of the greatest second basemen of all time!!! He’s already won an MVP that he didn’t deserve and might win another that he doesn’t deserve this year. You can’t get any more overrated than that. ….I know, your head is spinning.

    Probably the player who is actually the most underrated is Derek Jeter. ….I know, your head has now come off. For most of his career people have been writing articles claiming that Jeter is a pretty mediocre or lousy shortstop and that all of his fame is due to playing in New York. Every year there is noise that the Yankees cannot possibly win with such a poor defender in such a critical position. But in the real world, Jeter actually is an all time great shortstop. And Jeter actually should have won 2 MVP awards but never really came that close. How much more underrated can you get?

    -16 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • MikeS says:

      “Every year there is noise that the Yankees cannot possibly win with such a poor defender in such a critical position.”

      The Yankees could win with Bucky Dent at SS. Not Bucky Dent in his prime, but today’s 59 year old Bucky Dent. They have enough talent that they can carry a stiff at any one position if they need to.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • James says:

      Yeah, seriously, Jeter never gets any praise from the mainstream media. ITS RIDICULOUS!!1

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason says:

        This reminds me of the media truism that there is a liberal media bias. Meanwhile, the people who keep telling you that the media are biased are the media! Two seconds of thought tells you it makes no sense! If the media is actually biased in favor of liberals why is there so much media telling us about the bias?!

        Articles about Jeter are like this. A good portion of articles about Jeter state that the media is biased in favor of Jeter because he is the Yankees shortstop, and then go on to detail his deficiencies. People start to believe that there really is a sycophantic bias in favor of the player, when in reality it is a strawman.

        I’ve often read on this site that Scott Rolen (Scott Rolen!!!) is Jeter’s equal as a player. Your point is that Jeter is overrated while Rolen is underrated. In fact, when you do this you are overrating Rolen and underrating Jeter.

        As an exercise, do media searches about Jeter and Pedroia. I’m willing to bet everything about Pedroia as a player will be positive, while much about Jeter as a player will be negative. It’s because Jeter is underrated and Pedroia is overrated.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason says:

        Joe Posnanski seems to agree with me:

        “*Interesting, I think: The near-unanimous choice for the best closer ever, Mariano Rivera, has never finished higher than ninth in the MVP voting. There’s a weird thing that goes on with the Yankees and awards. There’s this constant drumbeat about how Yankees players are overrated and over-decorated, but Derek Jeter has never won an MVP award, Mariano Rivera has never won a Cy Young and was never even close in the MVP voting, and the only Yankees player to win an MVP award the last 25 years was Alex Rodriguez, who supposedly gets no respect. Strange.”

        http://joeposnanski.si.com/2011/08/23/most-productive-player-award/?sct=mlb_t11_a1

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jerome S. says:

      Now I’m a huge Yankee homer and a bona-fide Red Sox hater, but come on, what is this? The thing I hate most about Pedroia is how everyone raves about him, and they still don’t get how great he is.

      Derek Jeter can not, and will never be, underrated. No one but a madman claims that he isn’t a genuinely good player, and he gets all the recognition a player could get. Hell, you could argue he’s the most famous player of the past 50 years. I mean, seriously. And I reiterate, I’m a massive Yankees homer.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Max says:

      lol. sorry jason, but… no. just no.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jason says:

        I knew this would be your response, because it is you guys that overrate Pedroia and underrate Jeter. The reason you guys get it wrong is that you decided long ago that Jeter is a terrible fielder and that Pedroia is the best fielder at his position. Neither are true. Jeter is a sure handed shortstop with average to slightly below average range and an average arm. Pedroia is a decent fielder with perhaps slightly above average range and a weak arm.

        I don’t take WAR or UZR seriously because UZR is clearly a horrible measure of fielding ability. The “runs saved” stuff is pure fantasy. Have you ever wondered why there is so much individual variation in a statistic that purportedly measures a skill that should have the least amount of individual variation? You can either field a given ball or you can’t.

        I’m not a Luddite. I am all for quantitative analysis. But it has to be done well. I’m an evolutionary biologist. In my field there are people known as evolutionary morphologists that try to work out evolutionary relationships of living and fossil species based upon the shapes of their various bones. Quantifying three dimensional shapes is a really difficult problem. There are two camps in this field. The old guard prefers to trust their eyes and just look at the bones and compare them. Younger scientists are trying to slap a number on the differences using complex statistical techniques known as three dimensional geometric morphometrics. Because quantifying three dimensional shape differences is so difficult, the old guys who have spent a lifetime looking at bones are invariably better at it. The likely reason is that their gestalt captures more of the variation than the quantitative people are able to using thousands of linear measurements.

        Fielding is a lot like this. The numbers give false confidence. Ever wonder what the 95% confidence intervals would look like on those silly fielding numbers?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Bitter RedSox Face says:

    You’re anti-Red Sox angst is showing.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Bitter RedSox Face says:

    Your*** my bad

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Jacob says:

    Are you kidding me? Dustin Pedroia is the best defensive second basemen in the league according to the metrics. He’s probably the second best hitting second baseman behind Cano, but even then has him in speed. Cano is lousy defensively, although he makes everything looks so easy. Pedroia also has Kinsler and Cano beat by 50 points in OBP, which is the most important offensive stat. And your argument that he is the third most important Red Sox is wrong. Gonzalez has great RBI numbers, but any league average hitter could drive in 100 runs hitting behind Ellsbury and Pedroia. Pedroia provides a great bat and even better defense at a premium position on the field. And to your point about Jeter, he has been lousy defensively for a few year now. While he has been better at the plate since coming off of the DL he is still a league average shortstop at best.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jerome S. says:

      I think you are overrating Pedroia offensively. Cano edges him out a bit with the bat. Pedroia destroys them on the bases and with the glove, though, and is consequently way more valuable.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Andrew says:

        Your statement that Pedroia destroys Cano on the bases is a clear falsehood. Over their careers, Cano and Pedroia have been worth 5.2 runs and -0.9 runs on the bases, respectively. Cano is slightly better, but neither is much better or worse than average. Fielding is a different story, however, as Cano has been worth -41.9 runs in the field and Pedroia has been worth 38.4 runs. Cano is about as bad as Pedroia is good, but it’s important to note that he recorded a whopping -21.5 UZR rating in 2005, his first full season, and -8.3 the following year. I would argue that he has since improved, as he’s been worth a total of -8.5 fielding runs over the past three years. He’s still slightly below average, but nowhere near as terrible as he was his first season. Pedroia is well above average with the glove and has a particularly high (15.8) UZR rating this year.

        I would also disagree with you about their offensive games. Pedroia’s career wRC+ of 123 actually edges out Cano’s 119, and he also has a higher career wOBA (.369 to .359). Both have become truly elite hitting second basemen over the past two years as their peaks began, with both posting wOBA’s between .377 and .389 in the past two seasons.

        Overall they are very comparable players, with Pedroia being better due to his superior defense. Pedroia surely does not belong on the Underrated Players list, but this reflects a flaw in Carson’s methodology more than anything else – whereas for many players, the comparison between WAR and ‘FANT’ serves as a fair measuring tool for the degree to which they are overrated or underrated, Pedroia is a singular player in that sports media has recognized that he is a fantastic player and more than compensated for his (still very good) fantasy stats.

        As for Pedroia vs. Cano, they have similar career values thus far (24.8 and 23.3) WAR respectively, however, it is worth mentioning that Cano is a year older and was called up almost two seasons earlier, thus he has compiled his value in 4200 PAs vs. Pedroia’s 3000. While Pedroia is certainly better on a rate basis, injuries last year forced him to miss half of the season, whereas Cano has played at least 159 games in each of the past 4 seasons. Over the past three seasons, they have been nearly equally valuable (15.2 WAR for Cano vs. 15.3 WAR for Pedroia). In any case, it is great to see the careers of two outstanding second basemen unfold, and it would not be surprising to see them both on a Hall of Fame ballot in 15 or 20 years.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jon says:

      The biggest knock on pedroia is his 100 OPS difference between his home and away splits

      If it wernt for fenway no one would know his name

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ian R. says:

        That may have been true two years ago, but Pedroia has been virtually equal at home and away this year (a little more power at home, a little more OBP on the road) and was significantly BETTER last year (albeit in an injury-shortened season.) Besides, there’s no reason to knock a player for knowing how to take advantage of his home park. Most hitters (except those who play in extreme pitchers’ parks like Petco) perform better at home.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason says:

      Its hard to believe anyone could think Cano a lousy fielder. Have you ever watched him?

      You really are proving my point. Jeter is league average while Pedroia is the best in the game. Neither are true.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. My echo and bunnymen says:

    Jim Leyland has Alex Avila batting 8th frequently, or at least he did when I took my baseball road trip, if he wasn’t up there on underrated then I would, naturally, burn down your house.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Spunky says:

    Jason is right about the MVP voting though. In 1999 and 2006 he probably deserved to win the award. However, this is not the same as saying Jeter is underrated. While one could say his 1999 season was underrated (seriously, check out his hitting numbers that year compared to the rest of his career), it doesn’t make sense to equate this with anything about Pedroia this year. No matter how you look at it, Pedroia is having a great year offensively and defensively, and one could easily argue he is the most important person on the Red Sox (or at least in the same league as the other guys Jason mentioned). He isn’t being overrated, and even if he were, it still wouldn’t make the Jeter comparison correct because Jason is talking about previous seasons.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • A guy from PA says:

      Well, probably deserved to win according to what? In 1999 Pedro Martinez led the league in WAR for good reason, he dominated. Manny Ramirez put up the same WAR as Jeter and Roberto Almomar was within .1. I don’t think it’s clear cut at all Jeter deserved to win in 1999, he might’ve deserved 2/3 as opposed to 7th, but not 1st. In 06 Joe Mauer deserved it the most probably, much more than his teammate Morneau did. Jeter might’ve deserved it over the winner, but not the whole field, if you want to go just by WAR, Sizemore, Vernon Wells, and Carlos Guillen also jump ahead, but really I’m not going to argue WAR leader equals MVP, just that Jeter didn’t stand above the pack.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Tiger says:

    Seems to me that Pitcher NERD is backwards.

    After all, the greater the incompetence on the mound, the more likely that things happen on the field.

    I can attest that the Blue Jays bullpen has dished out countless hours of entertainment this year.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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